Customized Return to Work Plans

Getting an injured worker back on the job is a priority for employers and an effective Return to Work (RTW) plan is key. The sooner an employee can resume their duties, the less cost and disruption a company will experience. However, no single plan exists that will work across industries and accommodate every circumstance.

Why Customize?

Implementing RTWs presents its own set of challenges. Some employers have never created one and don’t know where to start; others have company templates that amount to little more than job descriptions that lack the flexibility to meet individual needs. One size does not fit all when it comes to injured workers but few employers have the time to design a custom plan.

Relying on standard industry practice can be problematic. Lack of modifications, very few immediately available resources, and mandates in policies that lead to unworkable outcomes are just some of the factors that keep employees at home rather than back on the job. Part of the assessment process involves determining whether a job could be modified so that the injured employee can still perform but in standard practice, this usually puts the burden of developing a modification on the employer, who has neither the time nor focus to come up with a solution.

Single Handed steps into that void. We meet with injured employees, communicate with the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) and bring the relevant parties together to create a clear path forward. Often that includes out-of-the-box job modifications based on careful analysis and input from both employee and employer.

How Custom RTWs are Designed

A common misconception about RTWs is that they are essentially job descriptions. Taking a deeper look at what an employee actually does can lead to creative ways to modify their job that enable the person to return to work. Our team begins by analyzing the employee’s role and responsibilities and creating an analysis which we then submit to the employee’s doctor, along with a job description.

Once the doctor has reviewed both documents, he or she makes a recommendation about what work duties the patient can perform based on their condition. If the employee is ready to return to their previous role, they go back to work. If not, we work together to explore modifications. In cases where those are not sufficient, we look at other roles the person might fulfill based on their prior experience. Our staff scans resumes for skills from previous jobs that could translate to other departments.

Another option is retraining. If the employee has no transferable skills and cannot return to their former role, we support them in getting the training they need to become employable again. Our staff acts as a go-between with L&I, identifying programs such as Stay at Work that can save companies money and provide viable options to losing the employee altogether.

Benefits of Customized Plans

Developing customized Return to Work Plans yields benefits not only for the employee in question but for the workplace as a whole.

Cost savings.
Single Handed Consulting helps companies find solutions that save money which would typically go to L&I. One example is L&I’s Stay at Work program, which allows employers to keep someone on the job and continue to pay them a salary instead of paying time-loss compensation to the department for lost wages. Businesses may not have the time to discover the program on their own or navigate the system once they do.

Getting Employees Back to Work Faster.
Customized plans offer more ways for workers to return than the standard industry approach. Minimizing the time they are away means higher productivity and less time spent training someone else to fill their shoes.

Employee Buy-in.
The claims process can be intimidating. Single Handed functions as an advocate for both employers and employees, helping them understand the process and their role in it. Once they understand the benefits of their participation, most employees apply themselves diligently toward getting back to work.

Bringing in Single Handed Consulting to develop a customized RTW plan increases the likelihood of employees returning sooner, reduces costs, and takes away much of the stress associated with workers compensation claims. Contact us today to get the process rolling.

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